Having reached second place in their group 1. FC Union Berlin qualified for the play-off knockout round of the UEFA Europa League. And today in Nyon they were drawn to play against Ajax Amsterdam.
Ajax, the four times European champions - who won the Europa League's predecessor, the UEFA Cup, in 1991/92 - are one of the most storied clubs in Europe, and play at the 55,000 capacity stadium named for probably their greatest ever player, the Johan-Cruyff-Arena. They are the reigning Dutch champions, and qualified for the Europa League by finishing third in their Champions League group, below Napoli and Liverpool, and above Glasgow Rangers.
"Union against Ajax, it's a great draw and and one redolent with that European footballing glory," said Union's Director of Professional Football, Oliver Ruhnert. "As the reigning Dutch champions, they are of course an ambitious and top-class opponent who have represented the Eredivisie in Europe for many years. The role of favourites here is of course quite clear, but we are looking forward to these two games enormously, and will be looking to take our chance."
Meanwhile Union defender Danilho Doekhi was very happy. "I know Ajax quite well, as a club from my home country. It's a draw that I'm happy with, because at the end of the day, a draw is always something to look forward to. And there is a great atmosphere in the stadium, especially for the fans."
The first leg will take place in the Johan-Cruyff-Arena on Thursday, 16.02.2023, with the second leg in the Stadion an der Alten Försterei the following week, the 23.02.2023.
Further information about the ties will be announced as soon as possible.
The winners will take part in the quarter-finals, taking place on 09.03.2023 and 16.03.2023.
The full draw for the Europa League knockout play-off round is as follows:
- FC Barcelona vs Manchester United
- Juventus vs Nantes
- Sporting Club de Portugal vs Midtjylland
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs Rennes
- 1. FC Union Berlin vs Ajax Amsterdam
- Bayer Leverkusen vs Monaco
- Sevilla vs PSV Eindhoven
- RB Salzburg vs AS Roma